Mar 31, 2012

To My Mom & Dad

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GO BUCKS! 006 holiday 2006 069 dad retiremen and halloween 036 dad retiremen and halloween 050

Happy, Happy, Happy Anniversary!!

Thank you for being my first example of love.

Mar 30, 2012

The ways in which I embarrass myself

     In front of my own husband. Close your eyes and imagine this scene:

It’s 12:30 pm, your husband is fast asleep despite the bright overhead lights still on. The overhead lights are still on because you are engrossed in a really good book. After having stuffed yourself that evening with an insanely large dinner, you realize you feel pretty bloated & gross & nauseous. In fact, you start to feel really sick & clammy. In an effort to cool yourself down, you strip down to your underwear & a sport’s bra and focus on anything else besides the over-full stomach. Then a lightbulb goes off in your head! If I could just eat something sour, I’m sure it would relieve this nasty tummy ache! Mentally patting your genius self on the back, you dig in the back of the pantry for this this- a 30 oz. bag of sour patch kids. You take your mostly naked self back to bed, lights still blaring, and settle down to cure your stomach. You are a little annoyed when you open the bag to discover that there are only a few left. Somebody must have been eating them, and it wasn’t you! You gave up sweets for Lent! In any event, you decide not to hold the candy-eater, AHEM, husband, in contempt and make due with simply licking the remaining sour-sugar off your fingers. You breathe deeply, finally relaxing and feeling better. Then your husband wakes up. Your husband wakes up to find you. Find you half-naked licking sour patch kids remains off your fingers. Licking sour patch sugar off your fingers at now 1 am.

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Unfortunately, this story is way too true.

In other news, this sour candy cure is not part of my natural remedy discoveries, but it kinda worked. The real cure for my problem would be to learn some self control at the dinner table ;)


Mar 28, 2012

On Fulfillment

     I spend way too much time these days thinking about fulfillment. Having an early life career crisis can do that to you, I guess. Honestly though, I know I am not alone in that constant desire for fulfillment. Friends from all different places in their life have shared the same struggle with me-whether they love their job, feel bored as a stay-at-home-mom, are looking to get more involved in mission work, discerning a vocation, wanting more out of their relationships, etc. It seems to be the constant ache and hunger of our human natures. A huge part of our discontent is that we always seem to be looking in the wrong place for fulfillment. We want a spouse {or a relationship}, or a job {or different/no job}, or a community, or even a mission field to bring us to that feeling of fulfillment. Like any Christian, I know true fulfillment is only found in the Lord. But, honestly, I was starting to wonder..because I go to church, have a fairly strong prayer life, I’m involved in a young adult community,  and am even blessed enough to maintain a Eucharistic Adoration hour, but I still felt SO empty.  In fact, I recently became so exasperated with my own lack of feelings of fulfillment that I tore through my bible and catechism and even broke out the Strong’s Concordance so I could read anything I could find on fulfillment. I just felt like I needed to get to the bottom of it.  Turns out their is a whole lot in the bible on fulfillment. As in, God fulfills a lot of plans & actions.  As I continued to read through different verses, I saw a common denominator. It was always HIS plans & HIS actions. Since He is a loving Lord, His plans & actions most frequently coincided with the desires of a human heart.  Take Psalm 20:1-6 for example

“The Lord answers your in time of distress; the name of the God of Jacob defends you! May God send His help from Zion and be your support. May God remember {implies a readiness to act-from the footnotes on my translation} your every offering, graciously accept your holocaust, and grant what is in your heart, fulfill your every plan.”

     So after reading that verse and SO many similar to that, I was Basically God will fulfill the desires in my heart. Sweet. Get to it, God! I’d like the perfect career OR a handful of adorable mini- Marcus’ and while your at it, keep my marriage fresh, and help me find the perfect charity to get involved in. And please don’t forget to give me meaningful friendships and community. Because I want to feel fulfilled. And hurry up Jesus, I want to feel fulfilled NOW. Amen.

     I was kind of tired of praying that prayer, though. I knew I was missing something & I just didn’t know what. Then I happened upon this verse from 2 Thessalonians chapter 1:11-12

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make your worthy of His calling & powerfully bring to fulfillment every good effort of faith SO THAT the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you & you in Him, In accordance with the grace of our God & Lord Jesus Christ.”

     Did you get that whole “so that” part?! I think I had always looked at fulfillment in a worldly view. To borrow from Wikipedia: to be accomplished, brought to completion, to satisfy. My intentions have been in the wrong place. The truth is, the purpose of any fulfillment we may achieve on Earth is simply for the glory of God. To desire fulfillment is natural, and certainly not a sin. I just came to realize that it wasn’t even fulfillment I was seeking. It was simply a feeling. I wanted to feel a certain way to make me feel better about myself. And feelings & faith are NOT synonymous.  It never occurred to me that fulfillment wasn’t something for me- but for God! So these days, my prayer is a little bit different.

Lord, please overwhelm me with your grace so that I may be worthy of what you are calling me to. I don’t know what you are calling me to right now, but draw me to yourself so I can make good efforts of faith. Give me the grace to be diligent & disciplined to knowing who you are through sacrament, prayer & worship. Jesus, increase my faith. “I do believe Lord, help my unbelief” Finally God, with your POWER, use my faith to live out the Gospel so your name can be praised.

     A couple of days later, when praying about what God’s current call in my life is. I came upon this video. I was stopped in my tracks when she said “ I didn’t FIND what the Lord wanted me to do! It was just in the bible!” Such, such truth. If you are anything like me, you constantly mull over what you are supposed to be doing with your life. But it is right there.

Feed the hungry

Clothe the naked

Visit the sick

Shelter the homeless

Visit the imprisoned

     It’s only when the Father is being glorified that true fulfillment abounds. So where do I go from here? Trying to go from seeking fulfillment as an end, to seeking fulfillment as a means for God’s glory.

     Anybody else struggle with this?!

Mar 27, 2012

A bookworm’s list

In no particular order..

Kisses from Katie

I saw a video promo for this book that had me in tears. I think this one is going on My book club’s list.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Also another one on my book club’s list

The Hunger Games

Normally, I avoid all-the-rage books like the plague {No, I will never read Twilight.. I don’t care how good it was} but this series has been highly recommended to me by trusted book-wormish friends. I also really want to see the movie, and my rule is: you have to read the book before you see the movie.

Traveling with Pomegranates

I loved Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of the Bees {the book & the movie} so I’m eager to delve into anything else she has written

Divine Comedy

Okay..honestly.. I don’t know if I will actually be able to read this. My mom & younger siblings read it & describe it as pretty brutal to get through. I recently heard a talk by Fr. Robert Barron where he frequently referenced this book and that got me really interested. While I truly doubt my ADD self can sit through the genius that is Dante, I would love to give it a try.


My sweet friend Heather mailed this book to me as an early Easter gift. I had never heard of it before but my Dad read it and said it was really amazing. I’ll be sure to read it & report back

Style, Sex & Substance

This book just looks like a fun, fresh take on the modern Catholic woman. This is another idea for my book club

Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta

Ina May Gaskin fascinates me & I’d actually love to read all her books. 

The Summer of My German Soldier

This book was one my family owned and I never got around to reading. My mom recently read it & recommended it to me.



Mar 26, 2012

Week 12


Brian, home on Spring Break! His last Spring Break!

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Quinoa, Broccoli & Cheese Casserole. So, so, so good!

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a pretty little spot in the kitchen

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Thursday & Friday didn’t get a picture this week :( If I hadn’t of been so lazy, Thursday’s picture would have been of Cecilia & Thomas playing hide and seek in my house. On Friday, I would have snapped a photo of the Religious Freedom Rally in downtown Norfolk OR my friend CA’s little girl Gemma playing in water in the backyard as we chatted.


Finally tackling the taxes

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Forgot to bring the camera out again! I could have captured my lifeguard re-cert staff meeting or Marcus & I rearranging our bedroom or even an impromptu visit from our friends Sam & Todd. Shame on me! I think I’m still trying to get back in the groove of things after that nasty flu.

Here’s to picking up the slack in week 13!

Mar 24, 2012

From the archives

      My little brother Brian{ seen here being handsome & here being joked and here being a good uncle} is home for spring break.  Since this is his last spring break and last year of college, it won’t be long before we head up to Ohio for his graduation and commissioning ceremony.When did the past four years go by?! Where was I?!

     I got to thinking about my older brother’s commissioning that seriously seemed like just yesterday. Except it was in 2006! In my mad state of nostalgia, I hunted down these gems in the archives.

Here is Chris being swore into the United States Navy by my dad


And his first salute as a military officer, from his friend Nick who served in the United States Marine Corps.


Father & Son

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Chris with some of his other favorites :)

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      Just another couple months and there will be a post on here from BRIAN’S COMMISSIONING. And here’s to betting he will look just as handsome in his uniform as Chris did….

Mar 23, 2012

Tried & True

     I’m happy to report that I am FINALLY feeling pretty much back to my normal self after a week of nasty flu symptoms. Maybe it’s because I took my pink-eyed, body-aching, sore throat, ear-plugged, feverish self to a doctor, right? NOPE! Sometimes I can be such a hippie. I knew all they would do for me was to prescribe antibiotics and those never do much for me. So instead of going to the doctor, I healed myself! Now, I have to mention the fact that without the help of sickness-induced insomnia, the miraculous cures might have never occurred. That’s because as my throat was searing, or my cough gagging me, I was driven out of my bed {in an effort to let Marcus sleep} and into the land of google where I frantically searched things like NEED IMMEDIATE RELIEF FOR SORE THROAT or IMMEDIATE NATURAL DECONGESTANT. The sore throat was brutal and the internet wisdom all pointed to a magic drink: cayenne pepper, lemon juice & Apple Cider Vinegar. And I was desperate. I drank my fair share of that nasty crap. It definitely helped but I was still miserable so I continued to pour over natural remedies on the internet. I started to see one strange suggestion popping up over and over again- That is-to soak a washcloth or towel in water with some rubbing alcohol OR vinegar and drape it on top of your throat securely as possible and go to sleep. It promised immediate results, that you would wake up with no trace of a sore throat. Friends, I was desperate. I wanted my sleep back. So I dutifully soaked a dishcloth in water and rubbing alcohol {Which kept the cloth very cloth very cold all night}, loosely secured it around my throat and tried to sleep under the aroma of rubbing alcohol. Marcus looked at me like I had lost my mind. Which I had. But when I woke up the next morning, my sore throat was GONE. Not felt better, still a bit dry, was GONE!

   So with the sore throat behind me, I figured I was surely on the mend. If only I could get rid of the intense sinus pressure in my face and head. I had already tried the shower steam, the acupressure and some spicy foods but I was still miserable. Enter google, again. As I am browsing questionable looking sites on natural decongestants, I see that somebody commented, swearing that doing about 20 jump and jacks quickly clears your head. I laughed and went on with my search until I noticed that particular remedy had received 35 comments all saying “It worked!” Well, the way my head was hurting, I didn’t know if I could sit up, let alone jump. But I was crazy & had lost my mind. And Marcus had the video camera ready. So, I rolled myself out of bed and did about 30 jump and jacks. As soon as I was done, I felt the relief. It was like dam broke. I was able to blow my nose, and felt all the pressure disappear. It is still gone!

     And the pink eye? Well, me & pink eye have a history. This embarrassing ailment always sneaks up when my immune system is down. I’ve had it frequently and I used to go to the doctor like a normal person. I would faithfully administer the drops as ordered and…..nothing. My pink eye told the antibiotics who was boss. So this time I didn’t even bother. I hit up my friend google, where everybody promised Colloidal Silver was the miracle cure. I didn’t even know what Colloidal Silver was?! Never mind, I quickly made my way to the Vitamin Shoppe and under the careful supervision of my much wiser older sister {via frantic phone calls} I walked out 30 minutes later with the stuff and rushed home to use it. I though it was a little weird, putting silver in my eye and all, but in less than 24 hours, my pink-eye was gone. GONE!

    I wish I could share the jumping jacks cure video with you, but seeing as how it was 80 degrees in my house { we’re refusing to turn the AC on in March over here} I was a little less than dressed in my Sunday best. More like underwear and a sports bra. Nobody needs to see that. Plus my hair looks like a lion’s mane. It’s too bad, though..because in the video you can totally see the transformation from I can barely life my head to look! I’m blowing my nose! I feel like a million bucks!

     Moral of this story? Next time you are under the weather and the drugs just aren’t cutting it, call a sister up! Then I will proceed, call a big sister up. Because she was the real brains behind most of my remedies {excepting the jumping jacks} But in any event, we’ll help you out!!!

Mar 20, 2012

The Croft’s Family Purpose Statement

To make any sense of this post, take a second to read yesterday’s post. Prompted by this awesome book, Marcus & I got to work writing our Family Purpose Statement.

To do so we brainstormed and listed and prayed and came up with one of our own. Lucky for us, being Catholic, the Catechism pretty much spells out our life purpose but we went and added our own flair, too :)

Croft Family Statement: “To know, love & serve God in every action & every word.”

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The Breakdown:To know= to educate & grow in our relationship with the Lord through Sacraments, scripture, prayer & fellowship. To Love=acts of charity outside the home & especially within the home. Love is also mercy. Being merciful with one another. To Serve= Disciplining ourselves to be selfless, putting other’s needs in front of our own, learning humility.

Spiritual Goals: Invest in relationships, live in a rhythm of prayer, honesty above pride, giving of time/talents/treasure, peace & laughter in the home, practice spiritual & corporal works of mercy, to adopt a constant attitude of gratitude.

As you can see, we went to town on making a family purpose statement. I elaborated on it but the short & sweet purpose statement above has been SO helpful in making decisions for our family. Little ones and big ones. We check every decision-whether it has to do with money, time, social, work to see if it aligns and promotes our family purpose. It truly simplifies the decision-making process.

We also made a list of future goals that align with our purpose statement.

Some Croft goals include: Having many beautiful Croftlings :), being a one income family, staying debt free, buying a home {with GOOD down payment} that has land for kids to play/gardening/chickens?!, Prioritizing nutrition/home-cooked meals/omitting processed foods, etc, homeschooling

Armed with both our family statement & goals, we are able to kind of check up on ourselves in a way. Does this commitment work with our purpose or goals? What about this purchase? Or what have we been doing lately to live out our purpose & goals?

Once we have children, we will probably rewrite/simplify our family purpose so it’s kid-friendly & easy to understand. We also plan on displaying it in our family room on canvas or some form of art as a constant reminder of why we are here.

There you have it!

Mar 19, 2012

Organized Simplicity-A Book Review

     As soon as I unwrapped this book on my 25th birthday just days after my wedding, I just knew I should have been offended! Was the gift giver {my older sister} assuming that I was some disorganized wreck?! Incapable of keeping my new home?! Well, if anybody could assume that..I suppose my older sister would have the rights to. We did share a room for a good ten years after all. But while I’ve been known to leave my chewed up gum in random places, I’m actually a pretty neat person. Except please don’t look in my cupboards or my dresser drawers.  Truly though, I wasn’t offended at all… I was drooling over the fresh graphic design and couldn’t wait to organize my new home. It was neat & picked up, but organized? I had a long way to go, especially when Marcus would be moving in after the wedding bringing all sorts of clothes, tools, guitars, golf clubs, whey protein, and other such Renaissance Man items. march photo of the day 062
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     Even though I was ready to dive head first into the organizing-the-home business, the author had a slightly different agenda. The book kicks off with the idea of simple, intentional living. The idea of simple living is kind of trendy word/idea these days and I was interested to see if she would have any new enlightenment in that area. I was only about two paragraphs into the first section when I realized what an absolute gem this book was just for this message alone.  It wasn’t long before I was hollering for Marcus to come read the book with me. We were pleasantly surprised at the genius behind Tsh Oxenreider’s view on simplicity. She addresses so many of the factors in our society that keep us from living simply. The first being STUFF! And not just things, but homes! She points out the fact that today’s families are smaller & smaller yet homes are bigger & bigger. With the bigger homes comes more stuff, more to clean, more furniture to buy, etc. The other huge simplicity-suck is our nobody-just-works-40-hours-anymore work schedule along with the plethora of overbooking extracurricular activities & social engagements. And since we can’t just all go and quit our jobs or not see our friends to achieve simplicity, I was curious to hear her solution.
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     Here is how Tsh Oxenreider defines simple living: “Living holistically with your life’s purpose”
     Well, that’s an awful broad definition, but I realized it has to be. Because living simply means different things to different people. We all have different purposes & goals. And living holistically? Oxenreider explains it as “meaning that your spiritual, relational, emotional, intellectual, physical & financial lives are working together” Recognizing that these aspects of your home and family life are interdependent and therefore must be balanced and focused on accomplishing/living your family’s purpose.march photo of the day 065
    The next section of the book is dedicated to help you come up with a Family Purpose Statement. The chapter helped you look at where your family is now, where you want to be, list priorities, identify hobbies, and goals. The purpose of actually taking the time to make a statement is that as a family, you could hold yourselves accountable to your family statement. Are the choices you are making financially, or with your time lining up with your statement? You don’t have to pull your statement out of thin air, either! There are so many examples, prompts, and reflective questions for you to pinpoint what your families purpose is.
     This chapter also encourages you to make practical goals for your families future. These goals give you even more ammunition in decision making and life for your family. You become willing to sacrifice now & live in a way that these goals can come to fruition sooner rather than later.
     I’ll come back tomorrow & share the Croft Family Statement as well as some of our goals :) Doing this as newlyweds was so helpful! It immediately put Marcus & I on the same page about what we wanted and where we were headed. It keeps communication lines open about priorities, schedules, day to day decisions. We use our family purpose statement often when trying to make decisions.
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      My favorite chapter was on Time. Tsh Oxenreider attributed the following reasons for why families are too busy to simplify
~Too Much Screen Time {social media instead of working/running home-I’m SO guilty, excessive television, gaming, etc}
~Too much structured time for kids {extracurricular overload, affects time together as an entire family, can turn parent into constant taxi, affects nutrition/meal time}
~Work {commuting, two income families, needing professional clothes, job prep or working after hours}
     While all these things are not inherently bad, of course the computer is a useful tool, we need income and kids enjoy playing on sports team or music lessons-they definitely can inhibit or ability to prioritize things we’d like to enjoy. Simple things. Dates with your spouse, family/friend dinners, enjoy a particular hobby, full night’s sleep, read books, exercise, entertain, fellowship, church/worship. In order see where you time is going, Oxenreider suggests making three lists. One a list of things you would like to do regularly, next a list of things of daily necessities and finally a list of realistically the things you do in an average month-the the things you have to do AND enjoy doing. The next step is to get from where you are to where you want to be by looking at things you can drop vs. things you can take on. Being mindful of how free time is spent {something we don’t value but need!} and re-allotting time. She encourages you to use your family purpose statement to tackle your calendar. When considering your schedule/events/opportunities she offers the following guidelines..
~Does it match up with you Family Purpost Statement?
~Are you doing it to make others happy? {I’m very guilty here}
~Does it work with your current season of life?
~Is it really necessary?
~Do we really have the time?
     This chapter was eye opening to me since I often feel I have so little control of time and my schedule and all things I need to do vs. all the things I want to do. And I only work 30 hours a week max! True, we can’t control the amount of hours during the day, but we can change habits and identify things that don’t align with our family purpose statement and make time for the priorities and goals we’ve identified.
march photo of the day 066      There is an excellent chapter on finances-which is very Dave Ramsey-esque and will help you make budgets or a plan to eliminate debt. Since Marcus & I had done Dave Ramsey programs & workbooks, this section was not new to us but still so vital to simplifying and organizing your life and household.
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     The final chapters in the book take you step-by-step, room-by-room to help you tackle & organize. They are all incredibly helpful, practical and thorough! It honestly feels like you have a cheerleader to help you through what can be a painful, overwhelming and exhausting process.
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     There are so many resources included in the back of the book. How to make nearly any household product {cleaning, toothpaste, detergent, deodorant} as well as many lists and forms for household management, budgets, meal planning, and to do lists.
   As you can tell from this lengthy blog post- I loved everything about this book! I can’t swear that my house is perfectly organized or that I get my priorities right all the time, but I’m trying and I’m so encouraged. Go get this book!

Mar 18, 2012

Week 11

     I have to admit- this was not the best week for me. Hopefully that means we can only go up from here!!

Happy Monday to me :(

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On Tuesday I went to mass with a toothpaste stain on my shirt. As documented here…

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Wednesday started out pretty good, if I overlook waking up with pink eye. But by 5:30 I just knew I caught whatever Marcus had last week. Driving home from work I could tell I had a fever. I spent that evening frantically searching for natural remedies for ear infections.

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On Thursday I was kind of excited. I thought that this sick day might mean I could get some things done I had been putting off. But the combination of fever, pink eye, sore throat, ear aches & body aches had me calling my mom instead. I didn’t make it off the couch all day.

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I fully expected to be better on Friday and be able to go on a retreat at Wintergreen I had been looking forward to for a while. But with my fever the highest it had been so far, I knew our weekend retreat was out :( No picture today.

Still sick on Saturday but at least Marcus was home with me & March Madness was on.  Despite the fact that my projected National Champions were out the first round..I was still doing better than Marcus overall! Woohoo!

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Another sick day on the couch. This is what I’ll be looking at all day, while talking trash.;) my pick is losing and Marcus’ is winning. You never know though…

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Being sick is no fun, but I am so thankful for milkshakes, popsicles, my mom, smoothies in the blender, hot rice socks, hot tea, spoonfuls of honey, cool washcloths, cough drops, ice water and mostly Marcus.

Mar 14, 2012

You’re Welcome

       because I know you’ll be thanking me for today’s dose of adorable. BABY CHICKS!!!

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Mar 13, 2012

Couldn’t have said it better myself

     Marcus and I have a subscription to the Magnificat magazine that we use to stay on top of daily devotions/prayer & scripture. One of the many amazing features of this prayer book is the daily meditations. They always blow me out of the water and seem so timely. No matter what I am struggling with or learning, the meditation always seems to be imperative to that situation. It’s like God has been watching me and specifically ordained that meditation for me. Then again, I’m sure God has been watching me and specifically sent that message for me! Last Wednesday’s meditation was way too good not to share.

     From St. Claude De La Columbiere

“ If we could see all He sees we would unhesitatingly wish all He wishes. We would beg on bended knee for those afflictions we now ask Him to spare us. To all of us he addresses- The words spoken to the sons of Zebedee ‘You know not what you ask’ (Matt 20:22) O blind of heart, your ignorance saddens me. Let me manage your affairs and look after your interests. I know what you need better that you do yourself. If I paid heed to what you think you need you would have been hopelessly ruined long ago”


     What I think I need. Wow.

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Mar 11, 2012

Week 10


Marcus is in the Ropes section of Fire Academy. I tried to brag about my Bowline knot tying skills, left over from my sailing days, but then he just did this.

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Virginia primaries!

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Having an older sister is awesome. Especially when she does cool things like foster baby chicks. And if this aww-worthy photo isn’t enough for you There will be many more pictures of these guys on the blog to come. Stay tuned!

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A sore throat smoothie

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8 am found us in the Urgent Care waiting room for Marcus’ can’t-talk-can’t-swallow-won’t eat or drink sore throat.

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Here is the sore throat victim himself.. getting his 40 days for life on! Now that’s hot!

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Celebrating daylight savings by taking a walk around Oak Grove Park! Spring is coming :)

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